Startup Tip 48: Give yourself a competitive advantage – Get organised & make your ideas happen

You want your startup to reach lots of people right? You’ve probably heard the saying in startup circles that startups are 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. Or that execution is more important than the idea. Well, they are correct; organisation is just as important as ideas when it comes to making an impact.

Why being creative isn’t enough

In his book, Making Ideas Happen, Scott Belsky gives a formula for making an impact. He says:

Creativity x Organisation = Impact

So think of it this way, one entrepreneur, let’s call him Paul, is really creative, has lots of cool ideas, but doesn’t execute consistently so they are realised. He gets distracted by shiny new ideas, worries about whether he is focused on the ‘right’ idea and hasn’t set clear goals. In addition, his workspace is such a mess that he only has to sit down to get distracted! Sound like anyone you know?  Let’s calculate his impact:

100 x 0 = 0   No Impact. 🙁

Miranda might be less creative and has fewer ideas but she is organised and does what it takes consistently to bring those ideas to life. She has deliberately decided where she is going to invest her energy and is putting her ability to generate new ideas on hold until she gets this startup to a stage where it doesn’t need so much of her focus. She has set clear goals and has a strong reason why she is building her business. She has put in place systems to handle regular tasks such as email, expense tracking and also the important ones that must happen to move the startup forward. Let’s calculate her impact:

50 x 10 = 500  Significantly more impact. 🙂

The simple fact is, that if you are going to make your startup a success, you need to be organised enough to execute consistently. Not everyone will bother to do this, but to be in the running, you need to make it happen.

How Apple use creativity & organisation to create success

Apple is a perfect example of why creativity and organisation need each other for success.

Apple is arguably one of the most creative companies around right now. It has consistently come out with innovative products that have quickly become game changers and it has sustained this innovation for decades.

Apple is also one of the most organised companies in the world. For the last several years, it has come number 1 in Gartner’s annual Supply Chain Top 25 league table. On average, Apple sells all of its inventory every 4.9 days, according to

Without their systems and organisation, Apple might have creative products, but you wouldn’t be buying them.


Is there an area where you need to bring more organisation to your business?

  • Are you organising your ideas so you don’t lose track of them? Consider keeping an opportunity journal.
  • Does your environment need a shake up? Read a few tips here
  • Do you need to set clear goals – not only for your startup overall but broken down into smaller sized chunks.?
  • Do you need to create systems and processes for tasks you must get done? Read about handling email here.
  • Anything else you need to bring some organisation to?

Further reading:

I am indebted to Scott Belsky’s book, Making Ideas Happen for many of the ideas in this post. I’d highly recommend reading it.

Join the conversation:

What strategies work for you to keep you on track and organised?  Share with us in the comments.

Or use them to create a little bit of extra motivation and accountability to get your action task for today done.
And I would love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter.

Image used courtesy of khalid Albaih under Creative Commons license.


  1. Whenever I go to create a new website design, a new project, or whatever it is that I’m into at the time, I have a very hard-set process. I go from the idea to the drawing, the drawing to the editing. The edited version of the drawing is sent to others for some thoughts, then I get to working on it. I do the framework, the style… It’s a very structured process and I think it’s why I can pump out the designs I need by specific deadlines. It’s kind of like why Apple can clear their inventory in 4.9 days, or Ford could get a T-model out of the line so quickly.

    I think organisation is one of the most overlooked, for the lack of better words, tools, to help you achieve success. Without it, you’re going to run in circles every time. Great article!

  2. We love all of your tips but this one hit home hard. Systems, processes, routine and order are vital! Excellent topic.

    • You know it’s hitting home hard to me too at the moment. 🙂 (That’s probably why I’m writing about it.) Organisation and processes are vital but require a lot of self-discipline to implement. And for us entrepreneurs we have to create that for ourselves because there is no boss or institution doing it for us. That’s the challenge I’m facing – especially when juggling a couple of startups with a family and the rest of life. But fortunately there are a lot of resources out there to help us create the order we need to work effectively.

      • Having creative energy and working on it for a period and then let it sit for a period can also work. Sometimes market not ready for new ideas.
        While it is good to have focus It is easy to become so focussed that you miss the opportunity.
        Microsoft became so focussed that it missed major change in platforms from desktop to tablet and phone.
        So always keep an eye on your competitors so you don’t miss those golden opportunities.


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